If Elk River’s hitters are a bit paranoid about left-handed pitchers, they have every right to be.
The Elks were blanked by a southpaw for the third time this year when last-place Anoka’s Kevin Persuitti shut them down 2-0 on a two-hitter Monday at Hales Field.
“We were shut out by a lefthanded pitcher from Maple Grove and we were shut out by a lefthanded pitcher from Andover, and now this guy,” said Elk coach Ryan Holmgren, adding that a lefty also got the win for Champlin Park in a 6-5 game. “This is a trend I’m not liking.”
The Elks normally have four lefthanded hitters in the starting lineup and in this game had five. The lefty-vs.-lefty duels are traditionally a tough matchup for the hitter.
The Elks had only four strikeouts but grounded out eight times including a double play and flew out six times. They had four walks.
Terry Hadden took the loss, giving up six runs (three earned) in 4 1/3 innings, with one walk, five hits and four strikeouts.
Hadden and the Elks blanked Anoka 10-0 on April 11 but the Tornadoes were a lot better with the lefty in the rematch. The Elks are now 7-7 overall and 7-6 in conference, and Anoka is 2-9 and 2-10.
The only Elk hits were a single by Logan Paige (who was thrown out trying for a double) and a bunt by Corey Collins.
The bright spot for the Elks was a stellar relief job by Porter Morrell, who retired all eight batters he faced, five by strikeout. Morrell is the Elks regular catcher.
Anoka took a 4-0 lead in the first three innings with a couple of Elk errors leading to three unearned runs. That wasn’t the case in the fifth when xxxx Sutterer slammed a two-run homer off Hadden, on a two-strike pitch up by his eyes, to make it 6-0.
The Elks will play at Park Center on Wednesday.